CAP High School/Cegep Prize Exam

The CAP administers High School/Cegep Prize Examinations in the provinces across Canada.


The 2023 CAP HS Prize Exam will be held on April 5th. 

It will be administered in person by high school
teachers in local schools.  To register your school as a participant,
please contact your provincial coordinator


Results from the 2022 Prize Exam are now available! Click here to view


The CAP High School Exam is based upon an internationally recognized syllabus, the I.B. Physics Higher Core Curriculum. Only sections of the syllabus covering mechanics, Optics and Electricity and Magnetism are examined by the CAP Exam. Since all provinces in Canada have different curricula and the level of physics taught varies widely, the exam uses a broad based core curriculum which is widely recognized and used throughout the world.

The level of the CAP exam is intentionally high. Only the top students from each school are expected to take part in the exam and only a handful of students in Canada are expected to completely finish the CAP Exam in the time allotted. Past statistics indicate that of the approximately 2,000 students writing the exam each year, the top mark is usually above 80% and 50-100 students nationally score above 50%. The CAP High School Prize Exam is a contest, not a judgement of a student’s classroom performance. We are looking for the most skilled, best educated physics students in Canada. Programmable calculators are not allowed for the High School exam. There will be variations among schools both within a province and nationally. A number of Universities in Canada award entrance scholarships to top CAP Exam students.

Structure and Scope

There will be a single National Exam written on a common day by all schools in all provinces. The exam will be available in English and French. There will be a multiple-choice section (25 questions) and three long-answer problems. The first section will be used as a filter to choose the papers which will have their long answers marked for the national competition but, where possible, it is better for coordinators to have a look at all parts of the papers before selecting those for national judging.

The exam will be set, printed and marked by a National Exam Committee. The Secretary of this committee will also be responsible for announcing the national results and distributing the national prizes.

The exam will be distributed to the schools in each province by provincial coordinators. These will be responsible for collecting the papers, marking the multiple-choice section and forwarding the eligible papers on to the national markers. They will also be responsible for distributing their provincial prizes and notifying the National CAP office about this.

A well-recognized International Syllabus is used for setting the exam: the International Baccalaureate Higher “Core” Curriculum (plus a little geometric optics). The emphasis will be on mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism.

Please remember and remind teachers that the CAP High School Prize Exam is a competition, not a judgment of a student’s classroom performance. We are looking for the most skilled, best-educated physics students in Canada. Variations are expected from one school to another, both within a province and nationally.

The multiple-choice section will be scored out of 25. Each long-answer question will be scored out of 20. A total mark out of 100 will be calculated by weighting the multiple-choice and long-answer section in the ratio of 40/60. As in the past, the French language marker is responsible for ensuring that his marking scheme and practices are equivalent to those used by the English markers.

Extra Benefits and Prizes

The provincial coordinators will act upon the announced results of the exam and distribute prizes provincially in accordance with the CAP budget for this. A student’s result on this National Exam may be made available to all universities in Canada, making a student eligible for scholarship. As well, there will be national prizes*, sponsored by the CAP and awarded on the order of $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third. The exam, solutions and results will be posted in due course on the CAP Exam web site.

*Prizes must be claimed within two (2) years of their issuance.